Before Jason Belmonte, it was Carol Gianotti who captured worldwide attention not only as the best bowler in Australia, but one of the best Aussie athletes of all time. She was honored twice as the Australian Sportstar of the Year in 1992 and 1993; but it all began when she won the 1989 Queens at Capital Lanes in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Historian-Blog-Ad-370x355The awesome Carol Gianotti spent 16 years on the Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour, and it was time well spent as she accumulated 16 titles from 1989-2000 in an amazing career as a professional bowler.

When 22-year-old Gianotti decided to try the American pro tour, she had no expectations. The happy-go-lucky lady from down under had represented her country in the 1988 Olympic Games in Korea when bowling was a demonstration sport, and she also won the '88 FIQ Asian Zone Masters that year.

"I had no pressure on me at all. I was just going out there to enjoy myself and the atmosphere of competing against those great bowlers," Gianotti recalled. "I suppose my nervousness and nothing-to-lose attitude because I had not been in that situation before helped me."

As the week went on, she kept winning those tough four game matches in the elimination bracket, and all of the sudden, she realized she could make the show.

"It was a format I had never bowled before and I just kept winning my matches against bowlers that I looked up to. I wanted to be as good as them one day."

She was certainly as good as them that day, and for many years following that incredible week.

"I was young and living a dream of just competing out on tour, and to have the week that I had . . . I was happy just to qualify for the TV show. Winning was the breakthrough for me . . . it was my first year out on tour and to win this tournament was just amazing . . . not only my first win but a major as well."

If you watched last week's BowlTV Vault offering of the 1985 Queens, you will be amazed at the difference in the quality of this ESPN production with Denny Schreiner and Leila Wagner compared to the '85 event. Schreiner called Gianotti "The free spirit from Perth, Australia," . . . a perfect description of the likable player with the impish grin that everyone grew to love.

We also get to see the Queen of the Queens again on this show . . . Aleta Sill had won twice before and was the favorite to get another one. The legendary Betty Morris rolls in the first match, and we get to see a couple of amateur Team USA Players, Cindy Kesterson and Sandra Jo Shiery, who would go on to win 10 titles as a pro.

But this week was the launching pad for one of the best international players in the history of bowling . . .
"That started my career and the belief that I could compete out on tour with the best bowlers in the world," Gianotti said. "The whole week seemed to fall in place . . . I knew after this win I had to reset my goals and work really hard."

And she did.

If you are one of those who loves professional athletes who are delightful to watch and don't take themselves too seriously, Carol Gianotti is your cup of tea. You will love what she says during the presentation of the awards after winning her first title.

The Historian